Category Archives: Weddings

My Own Love Thursday

Being silly and betrothed, 1999

Eight years ago yesterday, Thomas and I said “I do.” Well, technically we never said those two words as we had written our own vows, not realizing the infamous “I do” wouldn’t still be included by the priest marrying us. I’m fairly sure, just moments after walking up the aisle with my new husband — tossed rose petals still in my decolletage — I panicked and then asked quizzically, “Wait — did we say “I do”?

A week later, on our Bermudian cruise, we renewed our still-fresh vows along with about 100 other couples likely betrothed much longer than seven days. But still, I was happy to have said, “I do.”

Several years later, Tom’s parents celebrated a milestone anniversary and we all ventured to Chicago where they renewed their vows in the very church they had said them decades ago.  Their own siblings, as well as others who had stood up for them on their wedding day, were there to celebrate the moment.

At the end of the renewal, the priest called Tom’s parents’ five children and spouses up to renew their own vows as well in this beautiful old cathedral on the anniversary of their parents’ wedding.

Seems to me, at this point our vows are set in something darn-near stone.

Although yesterday we celebrated eight married years together, in two weeks, it will be 15 years since our very first date. Fifteen years. I was just 19 when we met and took weeks to muster the courage to ask him out. Until then, I’d been asked out or it had been a mutual decision to go out with someone — this was the first “boy” for whom I was brave enough, determined enough, smitten enough to make the first move.

Last night I arrived home from work to a large bouquet of 20 or so roses he had picked from our backyard garden and arranged himself, accented with large, green hosta leaves he’d clipped from the front garden. We then went out for dinner while Maeve played at home with her aunt and cousin.

Funny thing is, the entire Adult Dinner was spent talking about our little sassafrass Maevy Gravy. And her birth mother. And our upcoming visit. And how we want things to play out for our daughter and the life we are determined to provide her. For an evening free of cubed food, board books and sippy cups, she sure was with us: we laughed about her latest silliness, smiled over her juiciness, admired the outgoing personality that emerges more each day, and shook our heads in disbelief that she will be two in less than eight weeks.

Hours later, as we prepared for bed, I fell asleep before Tom ever made it into the bedroom from his readying-for-bed routine. Him setting his alarm and climbing in woke me up. I grumbled and mumbled something about being jostled from sleep. As I tried to rediscover slumberland, myriad thoughts of things to do, things to remember, and things to remember to do filled my mind.

In an effort to remove some of the To Do’s hijacking my brain, I reminded him about two phone calls he needed to make today. He stirred a bit, grumbled and then mumbled something about how now I had woken him.

Ah, how “old and married” we sounded.

Then he reached over and rested his hand on my back in what I knew was code for “Didn’t mean to grumble. Happy Anniversary, You.”

As I began to drift to sleep, I thought: So this is what us being in love for 15 years is like. I’m sure I was smiling.

Oh I do, baby, I do.



Filed under Family, Husbands, Love, Relationships, Weddings

White wedding, white weather

Well, well, well. I survived the Two Days in Boston Sans Maeve.

I also got laryngitis, so, ironically, when Tom and I called to talk to Maeve, she had no idea who I was. (And, considering her usual way of saying hello to someone on the telephone is waving at the keypad, I’d already had very little chance at an actual conversation. Yet, when she gets her paws on a coveted remote control, she’ll stick it to her ear, say “Hello?” and chat up a storm. Explain that.)

We also seemed to bring with us the blizzard that assaulted the East Coast on Friday as snow, sleet and ice pelted us the entire trip. The four-hour drive to Boston actually turned out — thanks to driving between just 15 and 40 miles per hour, passing 18 accidents each with police cars, tow trucks and the occasional ambulance, pulling over to de-ice the windshield, reaching outside the moving car’s window to catch the wiper as it swept toward us and “flick” it down to dislodge chunks of ice, following tire tracks because lane markers were buried in snow, debating whether a particular highway was a three- or four-lane road, driving behind plows and salt trucks at a snail’s pace — to be more than eight hours long. Yes, more than eight hours.

And that lofty goal of using the travel time to finish conversations stalled since becoming parents? Well, here’s essentially a transcript of what transpired between wheel-gripping, ever-patient Tom, and handle-gripping, nervous-ninny me:

Me: Tom, slow down.
Him: Yes, dear.
Me: Tom, that’s a bumper I’m seeing!
Him: Yes, dear.
Me: Brake, Tom, brake.
Him: Got it, dear.
Me: Tom! Careful!
Me: Bumper! Tom…
Him: Gretchen
Me: Tom, slooow down.
Me: Tom, be care-
Tom: I’m on it. Dear.
Now repeat. (Repeatedly.)

We did arrive, but not in time to see my friend’s ceremony in what was described as a most-beautiful cathedral. I missed her walk down the aisle. Although I’m told her floor-length veil was lovely as it draped down her back, resting atop her strapless Carolina Herrera gown, I’ll have to take my friends’ word for it. I didn’t hear her I Do as she commited herself to the man she loves, before friends and family. I missed her first kiss as a married woman. Disappointing, for sure.

There are, however, plenty o’ things I didn’t miss, including the fact I should be grateful we even arrived at all, safe and (reasonably) sound, as well as:

In the rush to check into the hotel, shake off the drama of the roadway and get dressed before the wedding guests returned from the church for the reception, I managed to keep from poking my hand through my stockings. (Always a victory for me, even in the calmest circumstances.)

The cocktail hour — a most-blessed sight after that commute — and a lovely reception.

Eating, drinking and being merry with longtime friends: Nice conversations, clinking glasses, sarcastic jabs, lots of laughs and plenty of poses for pictures.


My newlywed friend impressively belting out Janis Joplin’s Bobby McGee at the request of her guests, and the many accolades that followed.

Dancing. Lots of dancing.

Finding the hotel bed, down comforter, featherbed, half-dozen pillows and chenille throw to be a most welcoming place to finally rest very late that night.

Sleeping in and ignoring the knocks of hotel housekeeping as they made their way down the hall.

The Saturday brunch-turned-lunch with my friends and the waitress we’ll all remember — when all we wanted was caffeine and carbs.

Bagpipes and green Mardi Gras-style beads.

Knowing that some spring day in Boston, as the ice and snow begin to melt, a lone, homeless hubcap will make its way to the surface. And it will have been mine.* Let it now serve as a quiet reminder that, most important, I was there to share with my friend the start of a new chapter in her life.

Being in both Boston and Manhattan on the same festive St. Patrick’s Day night. How cool.

Discovering the perfect way to end an eventful and enjoyable weekend: Coming home** to Maeve and holding her tight.

* This is what happens when two people, frazzled by substantial delay, treacherous weather and a wedding ceremony already in progress, finally reach their destination. They are so completely spent that despite sliding into a curb and seeing their hubcap fly off the car and land in a median snowdrift some distance away, they Just. Don’t. Care.

** It will be discovered upon returning home from the two-day jaunt that, in fact, a second hubcap also had gone missing somewhere between leaving the Boston hotel and entering the driveway alongside the house.

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Filed under Children, Friends, Husbands, Love, Maeve, Parenting, Relationships, Weddings